Sunday | December 10, 2017
About Us | Contact | Subscribe

Your Views for June 3

A parade of trees

While reading B. Heidenfeldt‘s letter to the editor (Your Views, May 25) regarding Hilo’s traffic safety, specifically running red lights, I immediately thought of a recent neighborhood meeting with representatives from HELCO and power plant operators Hu Honua.

There are plans once again to put the Pepeekeo power plant back online, spending somewhere in the neighborhood of $150 million to do so. Keep in mind, HELCO states it does not need this plant online, but for their best guess at future plans, 28 years down the line, HELCO’s mandate is 100 percent renewable energy production.

That’s a noble gesture. Does it make sense?

Let’s be mindful that today the state of Hawaii’s solar production surpasses any state or utility in America. Imagine the year 2045? How far will Tesla and its competitors take battery storage and ever more efficient and affordable solar panels?

It’s a brave new world out there regarding many different methods of energy production. Tesla operates a solar farm storing power in batteries on Kauai for their customers 24/7. Hu Honua’s plans for their customers is to burn trees. Lots of trees, 24/7.

The burning creates steam which powers a turbine, while the trees continually burn. Those trees will be sourced from the Hamakua Coast (35 miles away) and Pahala/Ka‘u (70 miles away), north and south of the plant. Meaning logging trucks weighing 25 tons, with logs lashed to 45-foot trailers, will be traveling not only on Highway 19 from Honokaa, but Highway 11 through Volcano, Mountain View (adding to the Highway 130/Keaau bottleneck) and our Hilo town streets.

How many trucks, you ask? The 2012 permit Hu Honua was granted states 72 trucks operating 10- or 12-hour days, minimum five days a week. Keep in mind, 72 miles is a one-way trip. Double that.

One more thing regarding renewable energy. Imagine how many gallons of diesel fuel will be burned to haul those tens of thousands of trees through our communities for the next 25 years?

Traffic and safety is a huge concern and a vital part of our well-being. Trucks are most important to move our necessities and maintain our lives. Ask yourself, is hauling trees through our cities and neighborhoods a necessity, and will it improve our lives?

The PUC and our government officials are listening for your input.

R. Smith



Rules for posting comments